What You Can Do about Age Spots Even if You Don’t Have Them Yet

What You Can Do about Age Spots Even if You Don’t Have Them Yet

Sometime around the middle of life, many adults start to notice spots that weren’t there before. We don’t mean those pesky spots that float across our vision. We mean spots on the skin. These used to be called liver spots. For some reason, our ancestors believed they had something to do with an unhealthy liver. Now, they are commonly called age spots. We can see why; they occur as we get older. But really, the brownish discoloration on the skin is merely another indication of sun damage. 

Call them what you will, age spots or sunspots, but these frustrating little gems of color on the skin are frustrating by any name. They rise up from the deeper layers of the skin into which the ultraviolet rays of the sun have absorbed time and time again. When UV light is absorbed, the body responds with an increase in melanin production. Melanin is the substance that gives the skin color, which is why a tan results from time in the sun. The purpose of this increased production, though, is to minimize tissue damage. It is not uncommon for some of the pigment to clump together. 

When and How to Treat Sun Spots

Signs of sun damage should be evaluated as soon as they occur. Spots on the skin aren’t just cosmetically frustrating, they can indicate unhealthy cellular changes. A thorough skin cancer screening can confirm that no medical treatment is necessary to remove cancerous cells. With the “all-clear,” patients may seek treatments and remedies to reduce their unsightly spots. 

  • Turn on the right light. Interestingly, sunspots, caused by ultraviolet light, can be corrected with intense pulsed light therapy. This office treatment targets deeper layers of the skin. This helps in two ways. First, the clumped melanin that lives there absorbs the energy of the IPL and it breaks apart. Second, IPL warms the dermis, which stimulates collagen production. IPL treatment is one of the best ways to reduce multiple signs of sun damage. It even works before those signs appear on the skin’s surface. 
  • Slough off damaged cells. The skin isn’t always as efficient as it could be at ridding itself of old, damaged cells. To assist it, we perform various chemical peel treatments. Chemical peels speed up cellular turnover by stimulating exfoliation. We offer a range of light, medium, and deeper peels to address multiple problems at one time. 
  • Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to undergo treatments for sunspots if the skin is not better protected going forward. To prevent further sun damage, it is necessary to apply the appropriate amount of broad-spectrum sunscreen every day on all areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. 

The friendly, experienced team in our Austin office can help you address sunspots and other signs of sun damage and aging. Contact us at (512) 450-1077 to schedule your visit!

Posted in: Skin Care

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Andrew Trussler, MD
5656 Bee Cave Road – Suite J200
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 450-1077 | Fax: (512) 450-1817

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